For some reason, I’ve been in a pasta mood lately (perhaps it has to do with the fact that it’s winter and I’ve accepted that I won’t see a bathing suit for months). One of my favorite pasta dishes is my mom’s pesto pasta, but this requires homegrown basil, not something I currently have. So to make up for this, I made this dish, which uses broccoli to make a pesto like sauce that is delicious. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a pasta dish on the healthier side.
1 head of broccoli
1/2 pound spaghetti (typical bag is 1 pound, could also use whole wheat pasta, or gluten free pasta)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of salt
Black pepper and red pepper flakes to taste
4 tablespoons milk (original recipe used cream, but I used fat free milk)
Grated parmesan to sprinkle on top
1. First, you want to steam the broccoli. Bring a pot of water to boil (use the same pot you’ll later use for the pasta). While water is heating, cut your broccoli into small pieces. Cut off most of the stem and get them into really small pieces. Once the water is boiling, place a strainer or metal colander over the pot and place all of your broccoli in it. Now cover it with a lid and cook until broccoli is easily punctured with a fork. Once done, take the colander/strainer off the pot and set aside.
2. Now add pasta to boiling water and cook until al dente. Before draining the pasta, set aside a cup of the pasta water to use later. Now drain the pasta and set aside.
3. Next, put the pot back on the stove and melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Once butter is melted, add the onion and slightly reduce heat. Once onion starts to turn translucent (about five minutes for me), add garlic and cook for another minute or two. Then add the broccoli, salt, black pepper, and red pepper. Turn the heat back up to medium-high and continue cooking for a few more minutes. Then add the milk and take it off the heat. Now transfer this to a blender or Cuisinart mixer and pulse until it starts to look like a sauce.
4. Now place this mixture back into the pot and add in your pasta. Add as much as you need of the pasta water you set aside to mix all of it. Now heat all together for a minute or two and then serve with parmesan sprinkled on top (you can also throw in some tomatoes).